Ribby Hall (Preston) was where my family and I had a few staycations when I was a child. It always held fond memories for all of us. So last year my sister, her two children and myself decided to return, everything seemed so much the same and yet so different looking at it through adult, aged eyes. We had such a great time that we went back at the exact same time this year, so this is going to be a collaborations of the two holidays, and all that Ribby Hall has to offer.
- Swimming pool
- Arcade and games room
- Indoor soft play area
- Laser Tag
- Messy play
- Kids evening disco
- Golf course
- Adventure playground
- Body zorbing
- Cycle hire
- Climbing wall
- Multi sports
- Segway experience
- Woodland Trail
- Wild Discovery
- Adult swimming pool
- Aerobic and fitness classes
- Aqua thermal journey
- Hair studio
- Health and beauty spa/treatments
(Among other activities)
Both years we have been very lucky with the weather, but even if you’re not, there are enough indoor activities to full up your time with.
For the first year we stayed in the dog friendly cottage, which is brilliant. However, you can only have one dog per cottage, but with just Oscar it was really great, as a self confessed crazy dog Mum it was so lovely being able to enjoy a holiday with him. Ribby Hall has so many ducks just hanging around, they sell duck food if you are interested but be warned, feed them once and they’ll come back in swarms multiple times everyday of your holiday, which I happened to love.
They have a great indoor play area which the kids really loved, other than having to be lifted up a few times, they really got into doing it all by themselves, running around and shouting from the second level to look at them, look at what I can do 🙂 It does get quite hot in there though, so definitely bring a drink in. (Despite the evidence shown in the picture with my niece crying, she does actually love me :P)
Ribby Hall is nicely located, it is only around 20/25 minutes drive to Lytham St Annes, and another 15 minutes from there to Blackpool. One of the days we ventured out and stumbled upon a really beautiful park called Stanley Park, the kids got ice cream, Oscar got to run off-lead, and the adults enjoy the sun and scenery.
Some of the outdoor activities that Ribby offers is a cycle hire, there is a small charge depending on the amount of time you rent it for, if my memory serves me right, we hired for an hour, two bikes, and two kid trailers costing around £10. My nephew wasn’t too into it, but that was mostly due to being tired, otherwise we had a good time, Oscar ran alongside for a while before getting to enjoy the breeze and speed from sitting in the trailer.
They have multiple adventure playgrounds for the kids to enjoy, and the adults if you manage to use the excuse of ”oh, Max clearly needs help, I’ll just climb up here… oh no, now I suppose the only way back down is the slide, bloody kids getting me into these situations….. :)”
On our last day we had an picnic with food bought at the Spar shop that they have within the premises which makes self catering easy to do, however they also have restaurants, cafes, and takeout services;
The Tapas Bar and Restaurant, The Spa Hotel, The Bar & Grill, Harrison’s Bar, Starbucks, The Island Clubhouse, Papa John’s Pizza Store and The Tea Room.
They have multiple different cottage to choose from, depending on your price range and amount of people it needs to sleep, as well as Pine Lodges and larger accommodation if you have more money available or have a larger group.
This year we went without Oscar, which meant we did have more options regarding what we could do, how long we could be out for etc. but I did miss him, and seen as we are going to try and making this a yearly event, I believe we’re going to try and alternate the years that include him.
The first evening we went for tea at The Bar & Grill (insert delicious looking picture). Before wandering over to Spar and ending up buying a kiddies fishing pole, which my nephew then annoyed us with all week by ‘catching’ us in it… but he enjoyed it 🙂
The second day we took advantage of the new (and still somewhat under construction) Wild Discovery experience, which is a reasonable size considering it’s within the Ribby Hall property. One of my favourite parts is the option to bottle feed baby lambs! I mean come on! When we were paying to get in and they asked how many bottles we required my sister immediately answered two (for her two kids) but my outraged glare informed her that I did most certainly intend on feeding some baby lambs myself! As well as lambs, meerkats, pigs, bats, spiders, snakes and more they also have a safari walk (this is the part which is still under construction) it is small, but for a child it is more than enough.
The main activity for us on the third day was boating, which was hilarious, obviously I can not guarantee this for everyone, but if you have a slightly over dramatic sister, chances are you’ll spend the whole time laughing. The pedal boat hire cost about £15 I believe, maybe less, and it was worth that just for the truly adorable picture of the babies in life jackets Once in and situated we started on the loop round but pedaling was proving more difficult that we thought, I was basically having to lie down to reach the pedals (despite being a perfectly average 5ft3in), and the handle used to steer was really difficult to push and pull, so to steer one of us would have to stop pedaling and put our full weight and power into turning the handle, this resulted in us ending up in the over grown bushes more than a few times, which is where it got funny, because my sister started to freak out, I honestly believe that in her head she was on the Titanic, and that if we went under there was no hope for us, despite the fact that even in the middle of the lake either bank was properly 10 foot away, and the depth of the water was probably not deep at all. the more panicked she got, the harder she pedaled, and the more I laughed, causing stomach cramps, which meant I couldn’t pedal, which caused her to freak out more. At one point I thought she was going to try and climb out because she noticed a spider had joined us, and between the bushes, the spider, and the fact her foot-well had around 2cm of water in (”we’re sinking, Sarah.. we’re sinking!) she was no longer in control of her faculties, all the while the kids just had completely bewildered looks on their faces, which would make me laugh more. We ended up facing the wrong direction a handful of times but would just make use of it and pedal backwards which seemed easier. Anyways, we made it back, to be informed that the harder you pedal the more water the boat lets in, that it’s better to just take it slow, which explains why my sister side was ”going under” and mine wasn’t. I had stomach cramp for the next half hour and my sister said she was never going to go on one of them again. Overall, brilliant.
Afterwards we wandered over to the arcades, allowing the kids to get a taste for 2p gambling, and that evening we enjoyed the kids disco, which lasted from 6pm til 7:30pm, and included dancing, balloons, sing-a-longs, storytelling and more.
On the forth day went visited St Annes, which we always enjoy. Between the beach, walking out to try and find the water (it’ll take you ages) the pier and arcades, the train carriages that been converted into small shops, and the actual town centre within walking distance, you could easily spend an entire day there.
That evening we took the kids swimming, and the pool for the children is great, multiple play areas suitable for different ages. My niece spent a long time being pushed around by me on the brilliant horse float, I’ve tried to find a picture of it online but been unable too, I’ve never seen a pool float quite like that before either.
And as you can see the ducks all came to visit again, as well as a squirrel this year which happened to really enjoy my strawberries.
Our hope is to make this a new tradition, and hopefully one day when I have kids myself we’ll be able to get together and have our children spend a week of fun with their cousins like we got to during our childhood.
What family tradition do you have? And which ones do you plan on carrying on for the next generation?